More a pub and bar at night, really, this place does some nice traditional pub food during the day. Upstairs has seating for meals, downstairs is the cellar bar which serves beers from all over Europe and further afield. Also has a great selection of Scottish ales that changes every week or every other week. Sometimes there is live music upstairs in the evenings.
Popped in here for a couple pints twice during my trip through St. Andrews. While I didn't have the food, the people I saw eating looked happy. The atmosphere was awesome (and divey) for students and I felt moderately comfortable as a 30 year old. They had a guy who was singing absolutely kick ass covers upstairs the first night and I was in love with the place. It gets crowded, so if you don't have a seat be prepared to get close to some undergrads...which could be a good or bad thing.
Overall this is definitely worth a pop into whether you are a tourist or a student. If you are a student, you probably know all of this is and just wasted 30 seconds of your life.
I didn't realise that Aikmans was a Bistro......but that just shows you that this review will be primarily based on my drinking experiences at Aikmans.
Honestly I really like Aikmans though for me its not one of those bars that you start the night off at but one of the bars you finish the night up at since it is open late everyday of the week. Basically, my last couple of nights out have ended at Aikmans. I also really like this place because they have a pretty broad selection of beers and ales as well as harder sprits for the more veteran drinkers out there.
Its a pretty solid pub and pretty typical, I like that it is unpretentious and that the bar men are nice even to the student crowd such as myself.
Now that I realise it is a bistro I am going to have to try the food one of these days!
Aikman's is probably the first pub I'd ever been to in St Andrews. I came first to Aikman's on a visiting trip before my course started, and had a great time. When I started my course, this is also one of the first bars I went to. And I come back with relative frequency, for good reason.
Its a very atmospheric pub. Its probably the closest thing St Andrews has to a proper student dive. The drinks are (relatively) cheap, its open late, serves good food (try the chips), has frequent open mic/live act nights, and plays good music, in addition to just being an overall great, atmospheric pub.
The real draw about Aikman's, for me, though is twofold: first, it has an amazing selection of European beers from both Britain and the Continent. My current favourite is the Kozel, a Czech Pilsner. Very good, and at prices under £3 per pint, its positively cheap (for St Andrews)!
Secondly, is that its actually two bars in one. Upstairs is the more day-to-day bar, where its brightly lit, and can serve food, and where most often the live acts perform. Downstairs, though, is the cellar bar. Its very nice. Cosy, even. A bit darker, a bit more dive-bar-esque, great music playing (usually), etc. Overall a great pub.
"But Dan," I hear you asking. "If Aikman's is so great, why only four stars?" Well, friend, I will tell you. Despite all of Aikman's many positives, there are a few drawbacks. And I realise that a few of these draw backs are just part-and-parcel with what I like about Aikman's, but be that as it may, I still see them as disadvantages, whether I rightly should or not.
First: It gets crowded. Due to the fact that Aikman's is probably the only bar of its type in St Andrews, and it draws both Town and Gown crowds, it is crowded, often nearly to capacity, most--if not all--nights of the week. ESPECIALLY if you want to sit in the Cellar Bar (Which of course you do, right?!). Which means you have a few options: a. Get there early before it starts to fill up, and don't leave until you're done for the night b. Start elsewhere and go towards the very end of the night (as they're open later than most other places in town except the Vic and the Union) and hope that everyone else hasn't had teh same exact idea, or c. Go with a large group of friends, some of whom would have hopefully arrived earlier, and secured one of the bigger tables in corners/at the sides for your group, and thus have saved you somewhere to sit. Otherwise, its just luck of the draw and you may wind up standing or squeezing in places you aren't meant to.
Second: In the Cellar Bar, especially, due to both the music playing and the large amount of people all having conversations at the same time, it can get quite noisy, so having conversations can be difficult at times unless you talk quite loudly or get very close to one another. For students and most young people that shouldn't be a problem, and it isn't for me most nights, but every once in a while I don't want to have to shout to hear my friends, or tell my friends a funny joke. So, the loudness, whilst perfectly understandable and part of the atmosphere, does also count against it in this case.
Overall though, Aikman's is a very good, solid pub, and I would recommend it to everyone.
This place has the late license in st andrews, so is popular for late drinkers. The atmosphere is great, especially when there is live music on - usually folk-type music, but some rock groups too. Usually a friendly mix of locals and students upstairs, while downstairs tends to be mostly students. Aikman's have a really good range of draft beers and ales although it can be a wee bit pricey.
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